YOU WILL BE FIRED*

That is my message to the critic from the the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, assigned to review P.T. Anderson’s incredible film, There Will Be Blood. After spending several column inches imagining a world where Daniel Day-Lewis literally wrestles an Oscar from George Clooney and Emile Hirsch (what is he, Kanye West?), he buttons up his review with the following solemn oath:

“I’d give blood to see the movie again!”

First of all, slow down. Has this movie taught you nothing about capitalism and the art of the deal? You don’t start a negotiation this way. We’re talking about blood, buddy. How about revising your opening gambit to something more acceptable, like:

“I’d pay $12 to see the movie again!”

I’m not going to tell you I have an “in” with the film industry, but put that offer on the table and There Will Be Blood might just take it without going through a second or third round of negotiations. I’m serious; it could be that easy. Play it cool and for $12 you just might win yourself a chance to see the movie again, with all your blood inside you.

In the event you weren’t serious about your offer and you were just making a “blood” related pun about how much you enjoyed this film, I have to say this movie might deserve a bit more. A lot of people worked very hard on this film, for many years. I read Daniel Day-Lewis was so committed to his character work he built a time machine (by hand!) to take him and the film crew back to 1898, just so they could shoot the movie in real time. So the least you could do is spend an extra 15 minutes writing your review and reserve that wordplay for lighter fare like Enchanted (“It will cast its spell on you!”), where puns planted in a movie review are perfectly acceptable. I think it’s only fair to expect a movie as carefully considered and visionary as There Will Be Blood be reviewed in kind. Because, come on—I’d give blood to see the movie again? What’s wrong? Did your editor reject your original sound bite: “Oil wells that ends well!”?

I realize this is probably falling on deaf ears because I just did a search on the Dail Mail web site and found some of this writer’s other reviews. They’re pretty flip for such serious films:

Into the Wild
“I was into Emile Hirsch’s wild performance as a free spirit who freezes and starves to death. Don’t get left out in the cold on this one!”

No Country for Old Men
“…No Country for Old Men will prove to be some country for gold men…named OSCAR!”

Zodiac
“Killer performances all around. Zodiac’s horoscope should read, ‘I see an Oscar in your future!’”

Atonement
“I must confess, Atonement is one of the year’s best. Say your prayers, other Best Picture nominees.”

Judgment at Nuremburg
“The judgment at Hollywood is in, and the Oscar court finds you guilty…of being powerfully good. With Judgment in the mix, it’s going to be a master race to the Best Picture award this year!”

Apocalypse Now
“Smells like victory. America might have lost the Vietnam War, but it will surely win the war on ‘most Oscar wins’ this year. Academy Now! “

Do The Right Thing
“Do the right thing by seeing this movie! Even if black and white people can’t get along in America, now at least black and gold people can…assuming one of those gold people is an OSCAR! After this year’s Academy Awards, I can guarantee there will be a picture of a brother on the wall…the wall for Best Directors! I would allow a black person to throw a garbage can through my window while screaming ‘hate!!’ like it was some kind of student film exercise, just to see the movie again! “

The Accused
“Tilt! Foster’s performance is nothing short of penetrating. For The Accused, I think it’s safe to say ‘no’ means ‘Oscar’! I would allow myself to be raped several times to see the movie again.”

*With respect and apologies to the late, great Walter Monheit

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